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Archive for the ‘Americas’ Category

The consequences of cheap oil

In Americas, Europe News, World News on February 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

By Tom Harford

After years in which $100 oil was the norm, the price of Brent crude is now around a third of that. Assume for a moment that Russia and Saudi Arabia fail in their efforts to get the price back up. Will $30 oil change the world? The answer is yes, of course. Everything is connected to everything else in economics, and that is particularly true when it comes to oil. For all the talk of the weightless economy, we’re not quite so post-industrial as to be able to ignore the cost of energy. Because oil is versatile and easy to transport, it remains the lubricant for the world’s energy system.

The rule of thumb has always been that while low oil prices are bad for the planet, they’re good for the economy. Last year a report from PwC estimated that…

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Mom kills armed intruder with shotgun

In Americas, Big Brother, World News on January 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

By Mac Slavo

9-1-1 Operator Gives Her the OK To Shoot.

While foreign politicians at the United Nations debate the merits of allowing American citizens to own firearms, yet another example of the absolute necessity of the right to bear arms in a free society emerges from Oklahoma, where an 18 year old mom and widow who lost her husband on Christmas Day was at home with her young son on New Year’s eve.

McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO that she quickly got her 12 gauge, went into her bedroom and got a pistol, put the bottle in the baby’s mouth and called 911.

“I’ve got two guns in my hand — is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?” the young mother asked the 911 dispatcher. “I’m here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?”

The 911 dispatcher confirmed with McKinley that the doors to her home were locked as she asked again if it was okay to shoot the intruder if he were to…

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US Army unveils 1.8 gigapixel camera helicopter drone

In Americas, Tech on January 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

By BBC

The army said the technology promised “an unprecedented capability to track and monitor activity on the ground”.

A statement added that three of the sensor-equipped drones were due to go into service in Afghanistan in either May or June.

Boeing built the first drones, but other firms can bid to manufacture others.

“These aircraft will deploy for up to one full year as a way to harness lessons learned and funnel them into a program of record,” said Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Munster, product manager at the US Army’s Unmanned Aerial System Modernization unit.

Big eyes

The A160 Hummingbird systems are capable of vertical take-off, meaning access to a runway is not necessary.

The army also confirmed that they have hovering capabilities – something its existing unmanned aircaft lack.

Test flights will be carried out in Arizona at the start of the year before they are shipped to…

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Obama signs into law indefinite detention of Americans without trial

In Americas, Big Brother on January 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

By AllGov

He waited until New Year’s Eve to do it…but he did it. While expressing “serious reservations” about the bill, President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve signed legislation that cements into law two highly controversial tenets of the war on terror: indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without charge, and the jailing of American citizens without trial. It also takes terrorism-related cases out of the hands of the FBI and the civilian court system and hands them over to the military.

Obama approved the bill (known as the National Defense Authorization Act), but at the same time, in a signing statement, claimed his administration would not allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely.

Civil libertarians were nonetheless outraged by Obama’s approval of the legislation. They claim that Obama is taking a “Trust me; I won’t do it” position. However, even if he does refrain from abusing the law, there is no guarantee that future presidents won’t imprison Americans and others indefinitely without trial or even without charge.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), called Obama’s action “a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law. Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was extinguished today.”

David Gespass, president of the National Lawyers Guild, called it…

U.S. says will continue to deploy warships in Persian Gulf despite Iranian threats

In Americas, World News on January 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

By Haaretz

The United States will continue to deploy its warships in the Gulf, a defense spokesman said on Tuesday after Iran threatened to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf.

“These are regularly scheduled movements and in accordance with our long-standing commitments to the security and stability of the region and in support of ongoing operations,” Commander Bill Speaks said in an emailed response to Reuters questions.

“The U.S. Navy operates under international maritime conventions to maintain a constant state of high vigilance in order to ensure the continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce,” he said.

When asked later Tuesday if the U.S. intends to send naval reinforcements to the Gulf in response to Iranian talk of closing the Strait of Hormuz, Pentagon spokesperson George Little did not answer directly but said, “No one in this government seeks confrontation over the Strait of Hormuz. It’s important to lower the temperature.”

Also referring to Iranian threats on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. saw “these threats from Tehran as just increasing evidence that the international pressure is beginning to bite.”

“They are feeling increasingly isolated and they are trying to divert the attention of their own public from the difficulties inside Iran, including the economic difficulties as a result of sanctions,” Nuland told a…

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Iran announces long-range missile test amid Strait of Hormuz row with U.S.

In Americas, World News on December 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

By Haaretz

Amid a verbal row with the United States over blocking the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil shipping route, Iran proclaimed on Friday that it will start testing long range missiles in the Persian Gulf.

“On Saturday morning the Iranian navy will test several of its long-range missiles in the Persian Gulf,” navy deputy commander Admiral Mahmoud Moussavi told Fars news agency.

The testing of the missiles is part of ongoing navy maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and, according to Moussavi, the main and final phase is preparing the navy for confronting the enemy in a warlike situation.

The maneuver has been overshadowed by a verbal row between Iran and the US over an Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, through which 40 per cent of the world’s ship-borne crude is passed.

The spark for the row was a Tuesday remark by Iranian Vice President Mohammd-Reza Rahimi that, “if Western countries sanctioned Iranian oil, then Iran would not allow one drop of oil to cross the Strait of Hormuz.”

Following his remarks, Iranian navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayari said, although there was…

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US aircraft carrier ‘spotted’ in Iran wargames zone

In Americas, World News on December 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm

By YNews

A US aircraft carrier entered a zone near the Strait of Hormuz being used by the Iranian navy for wargames, an Iranian official said Thursday amid rising tensions over the key oil-transit channel.

“A US aircraft carrier was spotted inside the maneuver zone… by a navy reconnaissance aircraft,” Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesman for the Iranian exercises, told the official IRNA news agency.

The Iranian aircraft took video and photos of the US vessel, he added.

The US aircraft carrier was believed to the USS John C. Stennis, one of the US navy’s biggest warships.

US officials announced Wednesday that the ship and its accompanying battle group moved through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch at the entrance to the Gulf that is the world’s most important choke point for oil shipments.

After warnings from the Iranian government and navy this week that Iran could close the strait if threatened by further Western sanctions, the US Defense Department Iran, which is already subject to several rounds of sanctions over its nuclear program, has repeatedly said it could target the Strait…

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Two thirds of U.S. foreign aid is really military aid

In Americas, World News on December 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

By AllGov

When some Americans complain that foreign aid is wasting taxpayer money abroad that could be put to better use at home, they may not realize that today’s version of foreign aid isn’t what it used to be. Call it the Pentagon-zation of U.S. foreign assistance.

Until a few years ago, the State Department was the leading U.S. government agency when it came to doling out foreign aid. But beginning in the second term of George W. Bush’s presidency, and continuing through the Obama administration, the Department of Defense has surpassed the State Department in supporting foreign initiatives, most of which have been military oriented.

For the past two years, the Pentagon has been given $10 billion more than the State Department for foreign aid projects. With $17 billion, Defense officials plan for the coming year to invest in foreign military and police training, counter-drug assistance, counterterrorism activities and infrastructure projects, among other programs.

Among the expenditures included in the recently passed 2012 National Defense Authorization Act are $1.1 billion to the government of Pakistan for alleged counterinsurgency efforts and $415 million for two programs known euphemistically as the Combatant Commander Initiative Fund and the Commander Emergency Response Fund. Translated into everyday English, this means cash that can be handed out by U.S. commanders.

Gordon Adams of the Stimson Center told iWatch News that by shifting foreign aid to military…

Vladimir Putin calls John McCain ‘nuts’ in outspoken attack

In Americas, World News on December 17, 2011 at 12:17 am

By Alex Spillius

The Russian prime minister called the former presidential candidate “nuts” in response to Twitter comment about Russia’s parliamentary elections that drew allegations of fraud and triggered large protests.

Mr McCain’s tweet read: “Dear Vlad, The Arab Spring is coming to a neighbourhood near you.”

Mr Putin turned stony faced when asked about the tweet on his annual televised phone-in.

“Mr McCain fought in Vietnam. I think that he has enough blood of peaceful citizens on his hands. It must be impossible for him to live without these disgusting scenes anymore.

“Mr McCain was captured and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years,” he said. “Anyone [in his place] would go nuts.”

Referring to Col Gaddafi’s capture and killing, he said: “Who did this? Drones, including American ones. They attacked his column. Then using the radio – through the special forces, who should not have been there – they brought in the so-called opposition and fighters, and killed him without court or investigation.”

The Pentagon immediately dismissed the charge as “ludicrous”.

“The assertion that US special operations forces were involved in the killing of Colonel Gaddafi is ludicrous,” spokesman Capt John Kirby told AFP as of US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta visited…

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‘Man of Mass Destruction’? RT challenges Iraq War architect

In Americas, World News on December 17, 2011 at 12:13 am

By RT

As the day draws closer for the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq, many question how Iraq will fare on its own. RT spoke to one of the chief architects of this campaign, who shared his views on the justifications and failings behind the invasion. ¬A former assistant to the US Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan and a chairman of the Defense Policy Board under George W. Bush, Richard Perle is considered one of the most controversial figures in US politics.